Environmental priorities asserted by Latin America and Caribbean ministersListen /
Climate change, chemicals and waste management, and biodiversity conservation are top environmental priorities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Strengthening regional cooperation to address these compelling environmental challenges is the main objective of the 19th Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, considered the most important environmental meeting in the region, which began in Los Cabos on Wednesday.
Renowned international experts on the different issues to be addressed in the ministerial dialogues, including the global sustainable development agenda and cooperation on climate change, biodiversity, chemicals and waste, will also participate in the meeting.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner in his address during the inauguration ceremony said "Many countries in the region have taken steps towards the sound management of chemicals and waste, including the development of national assessments, legal frameworks and best practices that can be scaled up and replicated throughout the region". He noted "To date, 18 LAC countries have signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury", adding "I would like to seize this opportunity to commend the region's active involvement in the design and negotiation of the Convention and to welcome the clear commitment to its terms as stated in the Havana Declaration."
Juan José Guerra Abud, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico, stated: "In Los Cabos we will have the opportunity to share successful experiences and proposals to address the environmental challenges that our region is currently facing. It is indispensable to renew our conception of development in order to guarantee an economic growth that is sustainable. We require practical and innovating solutions as well as solid commitments among our nations."
This is the first Meeting of the Forum of Ministers since the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, which was held in Brazil in 2012.
Latin America and the Caribbean will assess the progress made towards sustainable development and join efforts to influence the global debate on the new post-2015 development agenda, and on the Sustainable Development Goals that are expected to take the place of the Millennium Development Goals. Latin America and the Caribbean has an important role to play in the urgent global task of establishing priorities and goals that enable equitable and sustainable development which also respects nature. This Forum gives the opportunity to the Ministers of Environment to articulate to the world, through their voices and their collaborative action, the need to embed the environment in all facets of sustainable development.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.